Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (review recommended by reader David Alabaugh)

Release Date: 12/4/2008 (Thailand) – Rated R

Plot Summary: Tien, the orphaned son of a nobleman, is living alone in the wilderness when he is captured by slave traders.  Once arriving at their camp he is very defiant, so he is made to fight for the camp’s entertainment.  He is thrown into a pit where he must face a… crocodile?  Tien slays the beast much to one spectator’s enjoyment.  As the fight ends, all hell breaks loose as the camp is attacked by raiders, who take the boy along with them.  Tien’s #1 fan is the king of these raiders who offers to teach the boy martial arts and weapons.  After a training montage that shows the boy grow into a man, as well as become the king of the elephants and fight a vampire(WTF?); Tien eventually becomes the raiding party commander.  After kicking some ass and getting his raid on for a few more years, Tien seeks out those who killed his parents.  The man who ordered the killing is now ruler and Tien goes to his palace to make him dead, disguised as a dancer Tien kills the governor and some of his lackeys before returning back to the raiders camp.  He returns to find the camp deserted and low-and-behold the governor isn’t dead and has sent hundreds of warriors to kill him.  He battles hundreds of black-clad foes, including some bird looking lady (on top of an elephant, no less) before being captured and sentenced to death.  As this is a prequel, we assume that things don’t go to plan.

Alex’s Thoughts: At times this is a very confusing movie with way too many flashback; some of which are repeated; that being said, this was one of the most beautifully shot films I have ever watched.  The cinematography is wonderful, and at times you’ll think you’re watching something on the Discovery Channel instead of an action movie.  The stunts and fighting routines are also very well done, with only a few hokey wire flips here and there.  This type of movie might not be everyone’s bag, but it is a beautiful piece of cinema.

Tim’s Thoughts: This was a neat movie at times, but I if I saw one more slow motion close up of somebody’s face, I was going to do a ninja flip off my roof and onto the back of my cat and ride out-of-town.  If these people would stop Kung-Fuing each other for 5 minutes and brush their teeth maybe they wouldn’t be so angry. Seriously nearly everyone in this movie has black poop all over their mouths. I was way too distracted by all of this to pay attention to the plot, but the excellent martial arts were fun to watch. Plus there’s an Asian Forest Whitaker playing Tien’s dad.

Final Thoughts: If martial arts are your thing, you will dig it. As a casual viewer…….. you could skip the plot stuff and fast forward to the fights and be pretty happy.

Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim Rates This Movie 6/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue